Little black Olive with a heart of stone

A discussion in a forum has caused me to relive events of many years ago involving a little black feral cat who had started to appear in our back garden…

At first it was just a bowl of milk most of the way down the back garden under the trees, progressively moved nearer the house, eventually to the back door. If you went too close her little sticks of front legs whirled like the sticks of a jazz drummer – in your direction. Then one day I took a deep breath, stooped down, put both hands firmly round her little body and lifted her into the kitchen. She didn’t turn and hiss. She didn’t lash out. She just accepted. No conquest has ever given me more pleasure. She became our little black Olive, and eventually started to dominate poor old one-eyed Rosie, the long-haired rescue cat we’d had to take in when our son rented a property that forbad pets. So then we kept Rosie while our son, now in a home of his own, took Olive.

Fast forward a few years, and we were feeding Olive daily at his house while he was on holiday in California. The once-fearsome little Olive had become a compulsive chatterer who followed you round the house with all she had to say. I could tell she was desperately lonely, in her empty house all day. So I popped her into the back of the car and brought her home. She sat looking sideways out of the window like a child going on holiday on a train.

I’m so glad I did bring her home. Only a day or so later, she walked up towards the house from the back garden, eyes fixed on my wife. Walked into the downstairs shower room, lay down, and died. If I hadn’t brought her home we’d probably never have known what became of her, little Olive with her heart of stone – except that it wasn’t. Her grave is marked by a stone in the wild area at the bottom of the garden, just where she came into our lives.

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